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Perceptual control theory wikipedia , lookup

Operant Conditioning – BF Skinner
Law of effect (Thorndike) = if a behavior is
followed by a better or more satisfying
state of affairs, that behavior is more likely
to occur again in the future. If a behavior
is followed by a less satisfying state of
affairs, that behavior is less likely to occur
in the future.
Operating Conditioning continued
• Reinforcer – anything that strengths a behavioral
– Positive reinforcement = getting something good
– Negative reinforcement = taking away something
• Punishment – anything that weakens a
behavioral tendency
– Can remove something positive (from positive to
– Can give something negative (go from neutral to
Successive approximations
Classic example
Real life example
Causes behavior to change continuously
Issue of persistence: schedules of reinforcement
**partial reinforcement
1. Acquire behaviors quickly if consistent
2. If reinforcement was continuous, behavior goes
away quickly when reinforcement is stopped. If
reinforcement was partial, behavior is more
resistant to extinction.
Additional Ideas
• Superstitious or “irrational” behavior
• Noncontigent reinforcement
• Reinforcement of dimensions of behavior
• Quality of an action
• e.g. creativity, thoughtfulness
Problematic Behavior
• Problems are behavioral responses that
have been learned
• Don’t care about underlying causes
• Never talk about low self-esteem or
unconscious conflicts
• examples
In-class application
A teacher wanted to stop some of the children in
her class from losing control and being
disruptive. She decided to give them a checkmark every time they lost control. If they went
three days with no check-marks, they received a
toy car. After a week she gave up because the
approach did not seem to be working. Based on
what you know about learning principles,
evaluate the teacher’s effort, assess why it did
not work, and suggest an alternative behavior
modification procedure.
Behavioral assessment
1. Identify target behavior
2. Identify environmental factors that elicit
or reinforce the target behavior. Identify
environmental factors that reduce the
target behavior.
3. Identify environmental factors that can be
manipulated to alter the behavior.
4. ABC method: antecedents, behavior,